Introduced to the UK 40 years ago on the 1 April 1973 as a part of the UK's entry into the European Economic Community, VAT was supposed to be straightforward and simple, writes Concur's director of compliance Matt Lewis.
Replacing the UK’s existing consumption tax ‘Purchase Tax’, which levied at different rates depending on the luxuriousness of a particular product, VAT was meant to be a breath of fresh air: one single rate, 10%, on the vast majority of goods and services.
40 years on and VAT is anything but simple. Over time HMRC has spun a web of rules and regulations designed to close loopholes and ensure that the taxman can take his fair share.
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